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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

The Main Library nearing completion

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, March 17, 2019


The construction trailer is gone, the construction fence has been removed, and the porta-johns went back to the warehouse; is the Main Library Project finished?

Well, the building has reached “substantial completion” but there remains a lot of work for library staff and contractors to complete inside the building to make it ready for “people-use.”

There are also various inspections required for opening and an Occupancy Permit.

The anticipated re-opening of the Main Library is set for April 30.

In the meantime, the former reference room shelving has been removed from storage and relocated onto the balcony for government documents and back files.

The children’s room shelving was retrieved from storage and taken to the 2nd floor of the new building to continue service.

The former reference room desk was dismantled and stored and will reappear in the new reference/computer room to serve the public from its new location.

The former children’s room desk was taken apart and reconstructed with some new parts to become the public service desk where people will be greeted at the new library entrance.

Other new shelving is being delivered, some new cabinetry, and library furniture is arriving from various sources.

And despite our best efforts during construction, every inch of the Carnegie building needs to be cleaned from the shelving to the books to every crevice of the old building.

The entire book collection is being rearranged and shifted in the new “library campus” that becomes the Main Library of our system.

The Main Library also serves all of the branch libraries in our system for cataloging and technical services, and as a central point of administration and supplies, so there is a lot of organization required for the lower level of the building.

The Bookmobile will be housed in the new building with new garages and work areas, just as the previous building.

Aside from all of these things that have to be done inside the building, perhaps the largest installation relates to technology and the re-installation of computers and Wi-Fi.

We have installed and increased the capacity of our online services with new routers and equipment to manage the fiber optic network.


Thirty-five computers will be operating for the staff and public use, and much of that capacity was installed during construction of the building.

Access to the library’s collection has been suppressed during construction and closure of the Main Library, so a plan has been developed with the computer center preparing to reactivate the database as the building re-opens.

Staff training has already started as it relates to the electrical and heating and air conditioning systems which are now all computer activated.

All the lighting in both buildings is now LED-based and adjusts itself as natural light comes and goes during the day.

The same is true with heating and air conditioning as different parts of the building has different needs depending on the space and building load.

I am told that the existing steam boiler and radiator system can be connected to the computer operations.

Staff training related to the new building spaces will take place before the official reopening on April 30, because this is a completely different facility that existed on Oct. 27, 2017 when the library closed to the public.

There will be 4 public service points in the facility instead of the 2 desks that operated the former building, and the whole public part of the building is ADA handicapped accessible.

The physical layout is quite different from the previous, and you will probably have to ask directions from time to time.

I am guessing that the different floor levels will be the biggest difference to the public.  The new entrance faces the library parking lots on Slack St. and access the street-level floor.

From that floor, you can access the 1st floor, which is the former main floor of the Carnegie building, or the 2nd floor which is the new building that houses the children’s room and reference and computer services.

The lower level of the Carnegie building is entirely staff and administration which is not accessible to the public.

We know that lots of people are excited about the re-opening of the Main Library facility, in addition to the library staff.  I am included in those groups as I will switch from staff to a library user.